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What Actually Happens To The Skin As You Age

The natural ageing process is something we all have to go through, but it's not something which many of us actually look forward to. Although the signs of ageing start to appear at different times for everyone, and the severity of it varies from person to person, most people experience the same symptoms. Fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots - they're all common skin complaints that affect us as we age, but what actually happens to the skin?

Research shows that are two different types of ageing. The first type of ageing is called intrinsic ageing, and is a result of genes we inherit. Genes control how quickly the natural ageing process unfolds, and it will be different for everyone. Intrinsic ageing, also known as the natural ageing process, begins in our mid-twenties when the production of collagen and elastin begin to slow down. These two proteins are responsible for keeping skin plump and smooth, and enables it to spring back into place, but once levels begin to decrease then expression lines no longer bounce back into place and fine lines and wrinkles become more apparent. The skin also thins and becomes more fragile as we age, and there is a loss of underlying fat in the cheeks, temples, chin and nose which causes hollows to form and skin to sag. Skin also becomes drier due to a decrease in the production of hyaluronic acid, a powerful water-soluble molecule found in the body which draws moisture into the skin and retains it in the dermis. Although these changes in the skin begin in the mid-twenties, the outward signs are not usually visible until decades later.

The second type of ageing is called extrinsic ageing, which is ageing as the result of environmental factors like sun exposure. Gravity is another extrinsic factor which affects how we age as it constantly pulls on our body. In your fifties, when skin’s elasticity dramatically declines, For many people it is the combination of extrinsic factors and the natural ageing process which causes the signs of ageing to appear prematurely, or more severely. While you cannot stop the natural ageing process, taking excellent care of your skin can prevent premature ageing caused by extrinsic factors.

Sun exposure is the number one cause of premature ageing, and even just a few minutes exposure every day without the proper protection causes changes in the skin. Overtime UV light damages elastin fibres which causes the skin to sag, stretch and lose its ability to bounce back into shape. Freckles, age spots, spider veins, rough and dry skin, fine lines and blotchy complexion are all common side effects of spending too much time in the sun. This type of ageing is called ‘photo-ageing’ and the amount that develops depends on a person’s skin colour, and their history of long-term sun exposure. Luckily most of this damage can be prevented by ensuring that your wear sun protection every day, even when it’s cloudy. Our Aqua Physics Defence Cream contains a mineral UV filter which protects the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Smoking is also another major cause of premature ageing, so try to cut down or quit. Research shows that a person who smokes 10 or more cigarettes a day for a minimum of 10 years is statistically more likely to develop deeply wrinkled, leathery skin than a non-smoker. Alcohol can also damage the skin, as it dehydrates it and leaves it looking less plump and fresh.

If you have dry skin then look for products which contain hyaluronic acid, as this will capture moisture from the air and draw it into the dermis. Our Nocturnal Eclipse Recovery Cream contains a high concentration of hyaluronic acid and Centelle Asiatica which stimulates the snythesis of collagen and plumps the skin.


Published: Wednesday, 05 November 2014

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